At our language school Manchester’s second-language learners are given the chance to experience the culture of the country they are learning about, in order to provide an authentic sense of how the vocabulary and grammar works.
But research now suggests that this approach might also be beneficial for the way you think about all sorts of things, from your ability to plan, to your attention span.
These abilities, along with strategising and organising, all fall under the general heading of ‘executive functioning’ – something bilingual people may be better at, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
In a study of bilingual and single-language children, participants were asked to hit a button depending on whether a computer screen showed them an animal or a colour.
Both groups performed equally well when the images were all in one category – but when the display switched between the two, bilingual children were faster to adapt.
At the la Academia language school Manchester’s residents have their language classes complemented by practical activities and excursions, helping you to develop natural speech rather than a word-by-word internal translation.
We do this because we know it works – but you could find your thought processes become a bit more polished in unexpected ways, too!